US-led airstrikes on ISIS positions in Kobane have "little effect": activist

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A Syrian Kurdish girl along with a child, fled from clashes between ISIS militants and pro-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) forces, in Kobane on October 1, 2014. (Photo: Anadolu - Rauf Maltaş)

Published Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Updated at 11:50 pm (GMT +3): Fresh airstrikes by the US-led coalition on Tuesday that hit positions held by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadists in the southwest of the key Syrian border town of Kobane had "little effect," says a local activist.

"The strikes hit the Mishtenur area," said local activist Mustafa Ebdi, referring to a plateau south of Kobane.

"But they (ISIS) aren't gathered there. There are other places they should be hitting," he said.

The strikes came a day after the extremists pushed into Kobane, seizing three districts in the city's east after fierce street battles with its Kurdish defenders.

On Tuesday, the fighting had spread to new areas in the south and west, a monitor said.

Gunfire was heard from the other side of the Turkish border, while a Kurdish flag was seen flying in the centre of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, according to an AFP journalist at the frontier.

Kobane is seen as a strategic prize whose capture would give ISIS a long stretch of the border with Turkey for its self-proclaimed "Islamic caliphate," which already spans large parts of Syria and Iraq.

"There were lots of clashes last night between YPG and ISIS," Idris Nahsen, a Kurdish official still in Kobane, told AFP by telephone.

The ISIS jihadists "are in the east side of the city. They are trying hard to capture the city. But there is resistance from YPG fighters which stopped their progress Monday and last night," he said.

The US-led coalition airstrikes, which continued in the night and the morning, are "helping but are not enough," he added, calling for arms and ammunition to be supplied to the Kurdish fighters.

He said the Kurds were in contact with both the US-led coalition and Turkey in search of more assistance.

"We need help from the international community. Either we finish them (ISIS) or they will finish us," he said.

At least 34 ISIS jihadists and 16 Kurdish fighters were killed in fighting in Kobane on Monday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

ISIS fighters have seized a number of buildings in the south and west of Kobane, including a hospital under construction, according to the Britain-based monitoring group.

Kurdish fighters have ordered civilians to evacuate the town, after the jihadists planted their black flags on its eastern side and entered Kobane on Monday.

ISIS jihadists began advancing on Kobane three weeks ago, quickly capturing a string of villages surrounding the town and prompting some 186,000 residents to flee across the Turkish border.

An official in the Turkish town of Suruc said Tuesday that 700 people, including 47 wounded, had crossed the border from Syria overnight, both civilians and Kurdish combatants.

Seven dead bodies were also carried across the frontier.

Turkey last week won parliamentary approval for military intervention against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, but it has yet to announce any plans for military action despite the advance of the jihadists to its doorstep.

Turkey uses tear gas to stop Kurdish civilians

The Turkish security forces on Monday used tear gas to push dozens of reporters and Kurdish civilians away from the border zone, as they fled the intense fighting in the besieged Syrian town of Kobane.

The armed forces employed tear gas for the second day in a row to push people back from the border area which has become increasingly dangerous owing to mortars fired from Syria, an AFP correspondent reported.

"Leave or else we will intervene," the security forces ordered through loudspeakers on trucks.

Reporters, as well as local Kurds who are anxiously watching the fight for Kobane between Kurdish fighters and Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) militants, have now been pushed back to some 700 metres from the border.

Around 160,000 Kurdish refugees took shelter in Turkey, according to Ankara, since the country opened its border on September 19.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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